I started making yogurt last fall, when my mom bought live culture Greek yogurt from Costco. I’d heard it could be made at home, and I’d done some research into fermenting, so I tried it.
In case you didn’t know, I’m definitely a do-it-myself girl. But I also tend to eat the food in the fridge before making something new. There was half a gallon of newly-bought beautiful Greek yogurt in the fridge. There was only one problem:
The darn yogurt was fat free. This isn’t my fat rant, though, so I’ll just say that the right fat is good for you and milkfat is one of those good fats.
I wasn’t touching fat free anything. Fat free products are, to put it mildly, gross. The yogurt was live culture, though! So I looked up a recipe, scalded some milk, measured the temperature, cooled it correctly, plopped in a dollop of Greek yogurt, stirred, incubated in the oven, strained, and finally had yummy yogurt.
Just thinking of all that effort makes me feel tired. Making yogurt was hard work!
So I stopped making it.
Then I heard about this thing called an heirloom culture. Properly cared for, no other new starter needs to be bought for… Well, ever.
Except yogurt was still too much effort. I tried a couple of experiments with from-scratch yogurt starters, but didn’t make any serious yogurt to eat and nothing really worked because I was too lazy to go through the above tiresome process.
THEN I heard about mesophilic yogurt. There’s next to no effort on my part to make it. I bought an heirloom starter for Caspian Sea yogurt, and started making some.
First batch: totally liquid. But there’s a secret that yogurt has. Freeze-dried starters tend to have the first generation turn out looking like nothing happened… but the milk is still cultured. So I slopped some in my next batch of (still scalded and cooled) milk, set it up in a warm nest in the cabinet, and left it overnight.
It was AMAZING.
Since then I’ve come to a realization: I don’t have to scald the milk. This makes making mesophilic yogurt the easiest thing on this planet.
1- pour milk (half & half if you want it really thick and less tart) into jar
2- put jar in microwave for long enough to make milk warm
3- put starter in warm milk; stir
4- put lid on jar; put jar in warm place (or a nest of hot packs, if it’s coldish in your house)
5- wait 12 hours; put yogurt in fridge when it no longer sloshes.
6 – eat.
Yep. That is how much effort I’m putting into my yogurt right now.
I’m ready to try some experiments, so my effort level will probably skyrocket, but in case you thought making yogurt was hard: it’s not.
Have fun making your yogurt!